October, 2011

UPDATE November 1: An Angel With Fur and the Pet Wall get spotlight coverage at Justin Bogdanovitch’s blog. Great pooch photos too.

URGENT NEWS: Zero Sum, Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome, is #1 Bestseller on Amazon free Action/Adventure downloads, and #14 on overall free downloads!!!

BREAKING NEWS: New review for Fatal Exchange from book blogger Kate’s Reads.


Thanks to everyone who registered a pricing alert with Amazon. It’s been a long week with a lot of help from my twitter buddies, but I’m happy to say that the mission was accomplished.

Zero Sum, Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome – is now a free download from Amazon.

You can download it there, and should. Early and often.

I know that hundreds of you sent messages to Amazon alerting them to the pricing disparity, and it looks like it worked.

Amazon is under no requirement to lower the price to free. They don’t have a price parity guarantee on anything but televisions. With books, it’s more of a smart business policy. But sometimes when you’re dancing with elephants you have to do so nimbly; with a little help from your friends. And so hundreds of messages alerting Amazon to the pricing disconnect were registered, and eventually a switch was flicked, and Zero Sum Book 1 is free.

That’s you guys – the power of the crowd, if you will.

Now I can market the books as they were intended – Book 1 for free, to familiarize readers with my intrigue/thrillers, fostering a trust in my style and reassuring the reader that I can write competently, and hopefully in a manner they enjoy. I know the biggest hurdle when I consider a new author is the concern they aren’t up to the task of keeping me entertained, and will come off as amateurish, or pedantic, or poorly executed in myriad ways. I’m pretty sure that once a reader has spent ten to twenty minutes with any of my books they’ll figure out quickly whether I suck or not, and if they believe I don’t, will then be interested in mushing forward through the remainder of the trilogy, and perhaps even to other books.

That’s the hope, anyway. Give the reader a taste, and then let them decide if further reading is warranted. Many will likely never read the download, or decide it’s not their cup of tea, which as John Locke points out, is par for the course, as is the likelihood of some hating you, some loving you, and some being ambivalent. It’s all part of the game. The only trepidation I have is that those who download free books might not fall into the demographic of those that buy books, but that’s risk anytime you hand out free anything. You have to expect those who go to Costco just to eat dinner by trying complimentary samples, along with legitimate customers who have no problem buying if they like it. At the end of the day, it all evens out, and the good will float to the top.

So now I have one more favor to ask, and then that’s it. For a while.

Please tweet to your following that Zero Sum Book 1 is now free on Amazon. The link is:

And always, thank you. I absolutely know I couldn’t have done this without you.

2011 was definitely the year of the book for me. Ten books released in one year (and one more I’m not releasing as it will make you all hate me and believe me to be the devil or something). Don’t try this at home. I never will again.

But never forget that the real push began when Zero Sum went free, and that was entirely due to support from the indie author community and my twitter crew. To all of you, Muchas Gracias! This may all wind up a tempest in a tea cup, but my bones say no, it’s the beginning of something big. We shall see. At least you all have front row seats!

Thanks again to everyone who contacted Amazon on my behalf. And thanks in advance to everyone who tweets about Zero Sum Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome – now being free on Amazon! As well as those who post honest reviews as to how they liked the books. Your feedback is important, and I try to read and respond to every critique.


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BREAKING NEWS: New six star review from book blogger Kate’s Reads for Fatal Exchange.


Hello everyone. This is just a quick appeal for you to help me greatly by spending just a few short moments of your time assisting with my new thriller trilogy, Zero Sum.

It requires nothing from you except a few mouse clicks.

The first book in the series has always been intended as a free book – Kotov Syndrome. The problem is that Amazon won’t allow you to list a free book. So I had to upload it to Smashwords, who then distributes it to Barnes and Noble, where it is now free.

Which is where you come in.

Please go to the Amazon page for Zero Sum, Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome, and notify them that it is free on Barnes and Noble. you can do that by going to the Amazon page, here, and selecting “Tell us about a lower price” – a link on the left side about halfway down the page under the current ranking. If you will simply do that, indicating it’s no cost at B&N, hopefully Amazon should price match it after sufficient uproar, and I can begin marketing the series as it was intended to be marketed.

The Barnes and Noble link to the book is here:

I would very much appreciate it if you’d do this for me now. Thanks in advance. And if you could do this once a day or so until they figure it out, even better.


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OCT 15 BREAKING NEWS: In-depth interview with The Kindle Author Newsletter, by David Wisehart.

NEW INTERVIEW/FEATURED BOOK: The Zero Sum trilogy of Wall Street thrillers Book 1 – Kotov Syndrome – is the featured book on GoodeReaders for this week! And best of all, Book 1 is FREE!!! See the interview here.

NEWS FLASH: An Angel With Fur gets twelve 5 star Amazon reviews the first week after it first goes on sale. That’s got to be some sort of record. More news: An Angel With Fur has been #1 on Amazon UK Animal Essays for several days, only five days after release!

BREAKING NEWS: An Angel With Fur gets a fabulous book review. And Fatal Exchange just got an awesome review from influential reviewer and blogger Papermustang. And was featured book on The Kindle Book Review.

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An Angel With Fur

Most anyone reading this blog knows me as a hard-nosed author of action/intrigue/thrillers, or alternatively, the author of a snarky parody of all things writing and self-publishing related.

So it will probably come as a surprise that my new book is none of those.

It’s the true story of the dog who changed my life.

My constant companion, my confidant, my mentor and source of encouragement, my teacher, partner in crime, counselor, cheerleader and shrink.

It’s an amazing saga of unprecedented heroism, of the spirit’s triumph over adversity, of boundless joy and infinite hope, of compassion and trust and forgiveness and commitment; and ultimately of our own frailty and mortality. It is humorous, poignant, part farce, part celebration and part tragedy. As is all of life.

In the end, it’s a love story, and a tribute to my best friend in the world.

You don’t know me, and I’ve never met you, and yet I believe it’s impossible that this story won’t resonate at a level that makes you feel like we’re fellow travelers on a path we’ve shared for years. Anyone who’s ever loved, or battled long odds, or lost someone close to them, human or animal, will recognize in this saga an essential truth. If I can touch you the way Lobo, my companion, touched me, I will have done my job, and honored and celebrated a remarkable spirit’s contribution to my life.

We are all of us here for but a short while, and there’s no telling where our road will lead us or how long it will continue to wind. Some of us will prosper, others suffer ruin. We’re all of us hauling on an oar, making for a destination that is as inexorable as it is mysterious. If we’re fortunate, in our process of living we’ll leave indelible positive impressions on those we come into contact with, and they and we are the better for it. That seems like a reasonable goal for a life well lived, and it’s one I’ve learned to aspire to. In no small part, because of Lobo.

These days, it’s hard to believe that things are going the right direction most of the time – values seem to have gone to hell, danger surrounds us, we can’t be sure who we can really trust, and our most cherished icons are badly tarnished. Heroes are in short supply, and those we have are often lacking once all facts are known. It was uplifting for me to be able to tell a true story that is inspirational, and gifted me with a sense of life’s positive possibility, and the value and very real existence of heroism. It reminded me that while there is much evil in the world, there is also a huge amount of good.

Animals have the capacity to touch our souls, and the bond we can form with them can transcend many relationships with humans. It’s strange to say, but animals can teach us why it’s important to be good in the first place. Perhaps that’s one of their gifts to us.

At heart, An Angel With Fur is a dog’s story, but it’s also about much more. It’s about courage, selfless sacrifice, and the power of love. I hope you’ll take some time to consider it.


Russell Blake, October 5, 2011

An Angel With Fur web page. A portion of all sales will go to Amigos de los Animales Mazatlan, Mexico animal shelter. Book reviewers with verifiable review sites, please use the contact page to request a complimentary review copy. Please specify if you’d rather have PDF or MOBI.

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Since I published An Angel With Fur last week, chronicling the adventures of Lobo the miracle dog, my constant companion and partner in crime, I have gotten quite a few DMs and e-mails from folks who have pets of their own – some of which are no longer with us, and some of which thankfully are.

I can more than most appreciate the pride of being the caretaker of a spectacularly handsome or beautiful or cute pet, and I further understand that many have unique and compelling stories of their own.

After hearing numerous of these I thought it would be a fun idea to create a page where fans can have their pet’s photo and brief story memorialized, for others to share.

And so it is with much fanfare I announce the new Pet Wall section of the blog.

Simply send me a jpg of your pet, along with a 400 word or less summary of their story, and I’ll post them as I get the time. In this way their legacy can be celebrated, and shared with other enthusiasts.

Pets are amazing companions, and can transform even the most mundane day into a joyous adventure. Then again, I’ve really never met a dog I didn’t like, as opposed to people; a species about which I’m still making up my mind.

So please send me your photos and stories, and I’ll post them, and hopefully over time we will build a lasting memorial to our friends. Go to the Pets page, and send your e-mails to Pets (at) RussellBlake (dot) com – obviously no spaces between the at or the dot and the other words. Once I get enough I’ll start posting them.

Oh, and please spread the word so we get a decent amount of participation. Tweet it long and hard.

Click Here to see the Pet Wall.


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